This week in Sharp Darts | Bleader

This week in Sharp Darts

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So my column for the June 11 issue is a review of a new book called How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll by Elijah Wald, who previously wrote a book on Mexican narcocorrido music that I've been meaning to check out.

Beatles is a rock history book in that it discusses the chain of events and influences that led to the creation of rock 'n' roll and its subsequent domination of youth culture, but it's unlike most other accounts in a couple of ways. For one it barely talks about actual rock 'n' roll, concentrating in large part on the first half of the 20th century, from the time before records or radio (when the notion of "popular music" that could unite large swaths of the country first came into being) and on through to the postwar primacy of big-band crooners.

The other main difference is that Wald doesn't cut "uncool" music out of his story, and instead highlights the popular acts that helped define the styles of the times, whether they were artful or corny or both, which gives Beatles sort of an alternate-history vibe.

Obviously this is short notice, but Wald's talking about his book and playing some music to go along with it tonight at 6 PM at 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th in Hyde Park. Attendance is highly, highly recommended.

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